Runes – PERTHRO
(P: Lot cup, vagina.)
DIVINATORY MEANINGS: Uncertain meaning, a secret matter, a mystery, hidden things and occult abilities. Initiation, knowledge of one’s destiny, knowledge of future matters, determining the future or your path. Pertaining to things feminine, feminine mysteries including female fertility, and vagina. Good lot, fellowship and joy. Evolutionary change. Rebirth, mystery, magic, divination, fertility, sexuality, new beginning, prophecy
MAGICAL USES: fertility, easing childbirth, to aid in divination and magic, enhancing psychic abilities
ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES: Freya, Angrbode
ANALYSIS: The actual interpretation of perthro has been the subject of much controversy among runic scholars. The problem lies in the fact that the initial P sound doesn’t occur anywhere else in the old Germanic language, leading to the belief that the word was imported from another language. The Old English rune poem seems to indicate that it had to do with some sort of game, leading many to interpret it as ‘chess pawn’ or ‘dice-cup’. The dice-cup meaning is particularly interesting as it not only fits the shape of rune, but also hints at such an object’s original use as a container for the runes themselves. An alternate interpretation of perthro is derived from the Slavic ‘pizda’, meaning ‘vulva’. This meaning (although obscure and somewhat unlikely) fits quite into the progression of runes up until this point, symbolizing the rebirth that follows death. Viewing it as a symbol of the womb of the Goddess, it represents the same element of the mysterious and hidden as ‘dice-cup’, but taken literally as ‘vulva’, it adds a powerful, feminine, sexual counterpart to uruz that would otherwise be missing from the futhark.
However you choose to interpret the literal meaning of perthro (and again, nobody really knows what that is), the basic symbolism is that of a vessel, nurturing and giving ‘birth’, keeping hidden and secret all those mysteries which can be uncovered only after the initiation of death. The rune is closely tied in with the idea of fate, that the road we travel, regardless of what we choose to do along the way, is pre-determined from the moment of our birth. The very act of being born sets us along a course of cause and effect, action and reaction that we may choose to follow blindly, or try to divine through the runes or other means order that we may better understand the lessons we will learn. Perthro is the beginning of this process, as well as the tool for accomplishing it.